Lots of shots, but not goals in Blackhawks’ loss to Preds
by Scott King
The Blackhawks had a new look for their second game of the season series vs. the Nashville Predators Friday night.
Changes included Alex DeBrincat jumping up to the Hawks’ first line alongside Jonathan Toews and Brandon Saad and Richard Panik dropping down to the second line with Patrick Kane and Nick Schmaltz.
On October 14 in Chicago, the Hawks beat the Preds 2-1 in overtime. Saad scored the game-winner and Patrick Sharp lit the lamp in the third period.
The matchup took on more of a rivalry this season after Nashville swept Chicago in the first round of the 2017 Stanley Cup playoffs.
The Hawks dictated the pace from puck drop Friday night and barely left the Preds’ zone for the first five minutes of the game. Chicago logged eight shots on net in that span and several went wide of the net as well.
Artem Anisimov scored a shorthanded goal with 26 seconds remaining in the first period to put the Blackhawks up 1-0. Anisimov knocked in a Nick Schmaltz rebound. It was Schmaltz’s first point since the season opener. The Blackhawks dominated the vast majority of the first period outshooting the Predators 21-7.
Calle Jarnkrok scored 57 seconds into the second period to tie the game 1-1 and send the Hawks’ momentum to a screeching halt. Duncan Keith turned the puck over to a wide open Jarnkrok who was standing in the slot during the play.
“I was trying to hit the guy in the middle there,” Keith said of the costly turnover. “I guess he was a little bit lower, so hindsight’s always twenty-twenty. They had chances and we had chances too. It’s just a fine line.”
Craig Smith scored at 11:02 in the second period on a Predators’ power play to extend their lead to 2-1. The Hawks couldn’t bury any more pucks, so 2-1 would be the final score and Chicago’s record would fall to 5-4-2.
The Blackhawks were 0-for-6 on the power play Friday night.
“It’s something we’re continually trying to work on and get better at,” Keith said of the Hawks’ man advantage woes. “Just like our five-on-five [play], you just need to stick with it and good things will come. It’s just one of those things, you have to work through it.”
Shots, shots, shots, shots, shots
Despite losing 2-1, the Hawks still put 44 shots on net. Preds goaltender Pekka Rinne saved 43 of them.
“Usually if you play that way, you’re going to end up with a couple goals,” Patrick Kane said. “So try to stay with it here, and hopefully it comes.”
Kane liked the Hawks’ start in particular and saw other positives in the defeat as well.
“Especially that first period, it seemed like [we were] really buzzing with four lines and creating some chances,” Kane said.
“I think the biggest thing with us is if we’re playing with speed, usually something is going to create. Whether you have to chip it in or not, it’s just that everyone’s always moving, things can create off that. It’s frustrating to get a loss tonight, but I think there’s some good things that we did.”
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